If your supporting characters aren’t working toward an understanding of the main character or situation in some way, you might ask yourself what they’re really doing there, hogging time and space in your book. Here are questions to ask about your minor characters to make sure they have a purpose.
Many beginning novelists think of the climax of their story as one single, explosive event. While that’s true to a degree, the climax of a novel actually has four components. Here's what they are and how to get them right.
Today’s tip of the day comes from Grammatically Correct and describes some techniques for improving your writing style and for assessing how well your efforts are succeeding. Not all these strategies will be right for everyone, but it can’t hurt to at least consider them. Focus on the whole as well...
I was reading through some of our older science fiction titles, and I came upon Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold (published in 2001). As I was flipping through the book, I read an opening line that intrigued me: “All writing is list-making. Nothing more. The trick is knowing what to...
Want to write a thriller, but stuck on the beginning? Novelist Daniel Palmer uses his own experience and that of his father (bestseller Michael Palmer) and lays out the essentials to get you on your way.
Catherine Coulter—who has had a stunning 62 New York Times bestsellers—shared her wisdom on the basics you must master before you worry about finding an agent, or dive too deeply into your book.
We’ve heard the old montage “Show, don’t tell” so many times that it’s become stale–and what does it mean, anyway? It’s an easy phrase to utter, but how do you achieve resonant, meaningful description that will make your words come alive? This simple checklist, from The Writer’s Little Helper by James...
Even the best of us can stumble over rough grammar patches now and then. Grammar Girl shows you how to navigate 13 top trouble spots.
Anyone whose ever seen a screening of a Pixar movie (Finding Nemo, Up, and the Toy Story trio come to mind for me) knows that the writers of these charming, funny and often heartbreaking movies know a thing or two about the art of storytelling. Recently, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats...
To stand out to the gatekeepers who hold the keys to publication, it’s not enough for your story to be good. Use these techniques to take your fiction to new heights.
Sometimes it’s too easy to get caught up in the so-called rules of writing and forget what’s really important. Here’s how to avoid the traps that can steer your story off-course.
Joseph Bates, author of The Nighttime Novelist, shares tips for editing and proofreading a novel or book. Creating A System For Editing & Proofreading Revision is really about seeing your book as a whole–recognizing patterns you didn’t notice before, and reconciling any disparate parts into a unified whole. The best way...
So where is the dividing line between major and minor charactors? There isn’t one. The different levels shade into each other, and as you master the techniques appropriate to each level, you’ll be able to create each character at exactly the level of importance the story requires. Here's how to master...
While fad advice in the writing world comes and goes, some wisdom is so novel that it’s withstood the test of time. Culled from 91 years of WD articles, interviews and essays, here are 23 of our favorite writing quotes of enduring advice and inspiration. Enjoy.
Your cast of supporting characters should reflect what your protagonist needs. Here's how to craft strong supporting characters to make your novel jump off the page.
Whether you’re working on an article or researching your book, steal a page from the psychology world using these 10 methods to get the most from your interviews.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten shares his thoughts on writing, reporting and how, exactly, to capture the meaning of life
In learning how to end your novel with a punch, it's important to know what you can and can't do to write success novel endings that attract agents, publishers and, most important, readers. Here are the dos and don'ts of writing a strong closer.
Your closer is the most important incident in the novel, which is why you must know it inside and out so you know how to end a novel that agents want to rep.
Is your manuscript stuck? Take a break from completing your fiction project and diagnose it. Here's how to take your manuscript into its next phase: completion.
Whenever you cause readers to be curious about what comes next, you’re creating suspense in fiction writing. Here are five simple steps you can take to increase the level of suspense in your scenes.
Learn how to write a synopsis with quick and easy tips for synopsis formats, see synopsis examples from fiction writing, and become a pro at writing a synopsis!
Is it always better to show than tell? Do you really have to write every day? Experts prove there's merit in both playing by the book and staging a writing rebellion.
It’s not enough to love our story ideas. We need to weigh their suitability as subjects for fiction, and then figure out how to go about making use of them. This means steering clear of cliché and its sappy cousin—melodrama. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that.
Should your story be fictionalized or be a true telling of your life? You have to decide. Here are 10 factors to consider.